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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: What Does It Mean, People Began to Call upon the Name of the Lord?

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Don Stewart
After the birth of Seth's son Enosh, the Bible says then people began to call upon the name of the Lord (Genesis 4:26). There have been a variety of interpretations of this difficult phrase.

Call Themselves By The Lord's Name

There are some who translate this verse, to call themselves by the name of the Lord. This would indicate that people were defying God by attributing deity to themselves. If this is the case, this verse may refer to the heathen idolatry that started at this time. The desire of Adam and Eve to be as God knowing good from evil continued with their descendants.

Godly Line

There are others who see this a different way. Throughout Scripture there is an emphasis on the godly line or seed that would eventually lead to the Messiah (Genesis 3:15). In this instance, Moses is emphasizing the godly line of Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve. Though Cain and his ungodly line were banished from God's presence, there remained people who continued to call upon the name of the true God. The worship of the Lord was something established from the beginning. It is also possible that some members of the ungodly line of Cain turned to the Lord.

Return To God

When Moses encouraged the people to worship the Lord it was a return to the true and living God. When God originally spoke to Moses in the burning bush He revealed His name to Moses.

Moreover God said to Moses, Thus you shall say to the children of Israel; 'The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations (Exodus 3:15).

The godly line of Seth will be the line of the promised seed.

Other Lines Mentioned

The line of Cain will join other lines recorded in Genesis that are not part of the promised seed. We find the Book of Genesis recording the family lines of Japheth (10:2-5), Ham (10:6-20), Nahor (11:29, 22:20-24), Ishmael (17:20), Lot (19:19-38), and Esau (36:1-43). All of these people and their descendants were outside of the promised seed.


When the Bible says People began to call upon the name of the Lord there are several different interpretations of what this means.

1.There are some who feel these people were defying God by attributing deity to themselves.

2.It may emphasize that people still trusted God in spite of Cain and his ungodly family.

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